News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay  » News » Sandeshkhali: Mamata says RSS, BJP 'fomenting trouble'

Sandeshkhali: Mamata says RSS, BJP 'fomenting trouble'

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
February 15, 2024 23:14 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

The unrest in the Sandeshkhali region of West Bengal ballooned into a major political row on Thursday as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee blamed the saffron camp of fomenting trouble in the area, while the Bharatiya Janata Party and the National Commission for Women (NCW) accused her party Trinamool Congress and the state government of being complicit in crimes against women in the area.

IMAGE: BJP supporters stage a demonstration in front of the SP Office against the lathi charge on party state president Sukanta Majumdar in the recent Sandeshkhali protest, at Diamond Harbour Road, in Kolkata on Thursday. Photograph: ANI Photo

Banerjee asserted that her administration had implemented all necessary steps to restore peace in the area, alleging that Sandeshkhali had been a 'hotbed of communal riots', in recent years, with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh having a significant base in the area.

Banerjee, while speaking in the assembly tore into the saffron camp and alleged that a 'sinister design is at play' to foment trouble in the area.


Meanwhile, West Bengal Governor CV Ananda Bose, in his report to the Ministry of Home Affairs, blamed the law enforcers for working hand-in-glove with 'rowdy elements' in Sandeshkhali where women have been protesting against alleged atrocities by TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and his followers.

Speaking in the assembly, Banerjee underscored the arrest of 17 individuals in Sandeshkhali, affirming her commitment to ensuring that no perpetrator would evade justice, while also accusing the BJP of importing outsiders to disrupt peace in the region.

"It has come to light how BJP workers have been brought and violence was instigated in a planned manner. The primary target was Shahjahan Sheikh and ED entered the area targeting him," Banerjee said.

"Following this, they ousted everyone from there and fabricated an adivasis versus minorities fight," claimed Banerjee, also the TMC supremo.

The chief minister's remark drew a sharp retort from the BJP, which accused the TMC and state administration of being hand-in-gloves in the atrocities of the locals and sexual harassment of women in the Sandeshkhali block, known as a TMC bastion.

"What is going on in Sandeshkhali is a mockery of civilisation. The chief minister and the state government have allowed the situation to escalate to such a level. Both her party and the state administration are involved in it," BJP chief whip Manoj Tigga said.

The National Commission for Women (NCW), whose team had visited the area a few days back, in a damning report, highlighted widespread fear and systematic abuse in Sandeshkhali, implicating both police officers and TMC members.

'Disturbing testimonies gathered from women in the village painted a harrowing picture of widespread fear and systematic abuse. Victims recounted instances of physical and sexual violence perpetrated by both police officers and members of the Trinamool Congress (TMC)," it said in its report.

Asserting her commitment to justice, Banerjee said, "We are looking into the Sandeshkhali situation; no one involved in any wrongdoing will be spared. I have sent the state women's commission there and formed a police team for Sandeshkhali."

Addressing the historical context of Sandeshkhali's unrest, she said Sandeshkhali has a base of the Hindutva organisation RSS, considered an ideological inspiration for the BJP.

"It is not new. The RSS has a base there. Riots took place there around 7-8 years ago. It is one of the most vulnerable riot spots. We handled the situation firmly during Saraswati Puja on Wednesday as there were other plans," she said.

"We will definitely address the issues that will be reported. But I need to know the matter to act on it," the chief minister said.

The Sandeshkhali incident continued to rock the assembly proceedings for the second consecutive day, after Monday, as BJP legislators staged a walkout, brandishing black scarves.

Meanwhile, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad denounced Banerjee's insinuation of RSS involvement in sexual assault allegations, condemning her remarks as 'shameful and irresponsible'.

"A woman chief minister is saying so. Shame on you... Why have you become so ugly, so cruel, so anti-women Mamataji?" Prasad said at a press conference in New Delhi.

The Raj Bhawan occupant in the report to the Union home ministry that he assessed the situation through direct talks with victims and visits to Sandeshkhali island, deeming the conditions there highly condemnable.

The governor's report, which came out in the media on Wednesday night, emphasised the failure of local authorities to reassure and protect the affected villagers, leading to a state of confusion regarding the identities of perpetrators and protectors, which is detrimental to a democratic society.

The NCW in its report exposed a disturbing pattern of negligence and complicity on the part of the Bengal government and law enforcement officials.

Echoing similar sentiments, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) which visited the area said that the people of Sandeshkhali shared their 'harrowing experience' with members of the panel.

Meanwhile, a day after party president Sukanta Majumdar was injured in a protest related to Sandeshkhali, BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari along with BJP MLAs tried to enter the troubled area but was halted by a group of police officers at Rampur village along the way.

Adhikari said a total of four legislators were going to the area so that they would not violate the prohibitory order.

"Three legislators and I were going to Sandeshkhali. How can the police stop us from going as the total number is four? I will move court," he told reporters after being stopped.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front brought out rallies in Kolkata and at Basirhat demanding action against perpetrators of alleged atrocities on villagers and the release of arrested former CPI-M MLA from the constituency Nirapada Sardar.

Protests continued unabated in Sandeshkhali for the seventh consecutive day, with a notable presence of women demonstrators demanding the arrest of TMC leader Shajahan Sheikh and his associates.

The allegations against Sheikh and his cohorts include land grabbing and sexual harassment.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024